As interest in city cycling continues to boom, driven by efficiency, economy, health benefits and sensitivity to the environment, the ingenious design of the Overade folding bicycle helmet is news to cheer about.
Although the styling and features of urban bicycle helmets have improved immeasurably, the basic form has changed little. With the high-profile exception of the Hovding collar-mounted airbag, most protective head gear for cycling still comprises a rigid shell of fixed volume.
That’s where conventional helmets and the Overade part company. The new helmet’s articulated structure enables users to compact the helmet to roughly one-third of its full size with a few quick movements. Thus a maxi converts to a mini for easy stowing in a backpack, tote or purse. It’s now available for pre-order through Ulule, the leading European crowd-funding site.
Here’s how the Overade works:
The idea took root in 2007 when engineer Philippe Arrouar noticed that few people wore helmets when using the Vélibe bike share in Paris. Riders expressed dissatisfaction with helmet bulk and appearance. Envisioning his solution, Arrouar filed for a patent, launched the company in 2009, and has worked since then to refine the design to its current elegance.
Especially as bike sharing systems — the epitome of simple, footloose public transportation — gain momentum around the world, it’s easy to envision growing demand for safety equipment that’s equally convenient. The ultimate in efficiency? Pair an Overade with a folding bike.
To order: Overade Folding Bicycle Helmet, S-M and L-XL, adjustable chin strap, $97, helmet plus visor and rain cover also available.